OKOTOKS, AB (October 14, 2023) — Christian Green (Boothwyn, PA) made numerous brilliant saves but the Okotoks Oilers fell by a 5–3 score against the Brooks Bandits at Okotoks Centennial Arena on Saturday night.
The Oilers trailed 2–0 midway through the first period before rattling off three consecutive goals to take a 3–2 lead over the Bandits early in the second. But after holding onto that small advantage for a little over 10 minutes, the Oilers conceded a pair of goals before the second intermission and ended up allowing an empty-net tally late in the third to seal the loss on home ice.
More than 1,100 fans turned up to Okotoks Centennial Arena for the showdown between two of the AJHL’s top teams. The Oilers and Bandits previous squared off at the AJHL Showcase in Calgary back on September 30, with Brooks taking that one by a 5–2 score; the teams will meet again in Okotoks on December 8 before playing two more games in Brooks in the winter.
Brooks improved to a 10–1–0 record with the victory, which allowed them to keep pace with the Blackfalds Bulldogs atop the AJHL standings. The Oilers fell to 7–4–1 as their bid for a third consecutive win fell short.
The Oilers outshot the Bandits 32–21 in Saturday’s game. Green made 16 saves on 20 shots, but many of the stops he did make were of the highlight-reel variety. The 5’11” netminder put his glove hand to excellent use, most notably robbing Ty Mason, Hunter Wallace, and Hughie Hooker of sure goals.
After Caelan Fitzpatrick and Luke Marshall scored five minutes apart in the first period to put Brooks up 2–0, the Oilers responded with a pair of goals before the intermission.
First, Hunter Sawka (Cochrane, AB) converted in the low slot off a neat feed from Brody Maguire (Calgary, AB) to make it a 2–1 game. Shortly thereafter, Jack Silverberg (Sherwood Park, AB) found the back of the net on the power play for his third goal in as many games to tie the score at two.
Jagger Tapper (Calgary, AB) gave the Oilers their only lead of the game at the 1:29 mark of the second period, receiving a beautiful back-door pass from Connor Gourley and sliding the puck past Brooks goaltender Johnny Hicks.
Logan Sawyer evened the score for Brooks midway through the second period off a beautiful individual effort that culminated with him sliding the puck past Green from the foot of the crease. Fitzpatrick put the visitors back up by one with 3:15 to play in the second, and Brooks never looked back from there. Parker Lalonde scored into the Oilers’ empty net in the final two minutes of regulation time to cap off a 5–3 win for Brooks.
Recap: Mike Gould
Photo: Chad Goddard